L.L. Bean Taps Martin/Williams

Apparently seeking to jumpstart sluggish sales, catalog retailer L.L. Bean has chosen Martin/Williams as its agency of record.

The Minneapolis shop bested cross-town rival Car-michael Lynch and FCB Worldwide, New York, in a review run by Pile and Co., Boston.

Martin/Williams works for outdoor gear and clothing retailer Gander Mountain and retail giant Target Stores. Both were initially believed to pose conflicts with L.L. Bean, Freeport, Maine [Adweek, Sept 18]. Martin/Williams officials said all such issues have been worked out and that the three will remain on the agency’s roster.

Martin/Williams’ creative presentation, modern in tone but respectful of the client’s history, put the shop over the top in the review for the client’s $15-20 million account, said client official Rich Donaldson.

For the second time, Carmichael Lynch has been a runnerup for L.L. Bean. The shop lost to Mullen, Wenham, Mass., in the client’s competition two years ago. Mullen’s L.L. Bean work was well-received, but client and agency abruptly parted this summer. No reason was given for the split, though sources have pointed to L.L. Bean’s recent financial performances, with sales stalled around $1.1 billion for several years.